Difference Between a C.V and a Resume

As soon as you get into high school, you hear the words C.V. and resume thrown around quite a lot. Whether you are applying for a summer job or a full-time position after graduating, it’s common to be confused on whether you should be submitting a C.V. or a resume. So, what is the real difference between a C.V. and a resume? Let’s dig a little deeper to find out.

Before getting on to the differences, there’s one major aspect both a C.V. and resume have in common. That is both provide a summary of a person’s experiences and skills. That’s where all the difference comes into play as well.

The Actual Difference Between a C.V. and a Resume

The biggest difference you need to know about when it comes a Curriculum Vitae (CV) vs. a Resume is the length. Resumes are far briefer in nature and provide a quick overview of your experience and educational history.

When you are applying to jobs around the US and Canada, a resume is usually the way to go. 90% of the time, a resume will be explicitly asked for by recruiters and hiring managers.

A C.V. on the other hand is usually much longer. On average, a C.V. is usually two or three pages and can go all the way up to 12. This is because mostly academic professionals use this to highlight their teaching experience, degrees, research and publications.

Resumes are limited to a page or two most of the time. Anything longer than that would only go to waste because research has shown that most hiring managers spend as little as 10 seconds on each applicant’s profile. A resume works best in this scenario.  

Where Are CVs Usually Required

If you are not working in either academia or medicine in North America, you probably will not get a request for a CV. That changes when applying to positions abroad. Mostly around Europe and the Middle East.

This is usually due to employers wanting to see more of a candidate’s background and personal history. They want to know more about where you studied and what major achievements you have been able to get under your belt. Having 10-15 or more years of experience would allow you to make a full CV by just mentioning your positions and what was going on during their tenure.

Applicants with shorter career histories would need to focus more on their educational history and extracurricular activities to make a CV worthwhile. Any volunteering before or during your career should be mentioned and highlighted. This would be done on a resume as well, but could be in more detail when it comes to making a CV.

Do You Need a CV or a Resume?

The simple answer to that is you should have both on hand. A CV would require less tailoring and can be sent as is since it covers your profile in-depth. A resume is flexible and can be updated more often to match a specific position you may be applying for.

A CV is also great for having a complete outline of your work history and achievements on hand. This lengthy document can be used not only for applying to positions when needed, but to also pull information from when updating/tailoring your resume. Think of it as a backup to everything you have done and would like to keep documented.

This basically explains the difference between a C.V. and a Resume. You could spend all day trying to get into what further differentiates a C.V. from a resume, but who really has time for that? Focus more on polishing up either or both, if you have them, and follow the best practices when applying to a position you’re highly keen on getting considered for.